European Thermal Heritage Day 2021

European Thermal Heritage Day 2021

EHTTA's 4th European Thermal Heritage Day, hosted by Wiesbaden took place on the 21st October online from the Christian Zais Saal, Kurhaus Wiesbaden. The first of a series of annual events on the "Therapeutic Landscape", this first event was on the subject of "Thermal Urbanism".

To replay the Facebook stream of European Thermal Heritage Day click here.

ETHD 2021 stage is set credit Simone Zagrodnik
ETHD 2021 Ready to go - credit Bernard Kajdan
Mr Baltar speaking at ETHD 2021
ETHD Simone Zagrodnik, Paul Simons, Mario Crecente
ETHD Day delegates 2
Delegates at European Thermal Heritage Day - restricted numbers for a hybrid event.
ETHD 2021 Simone Zagrodnik, Klaus-Peter Willsch, Mr Baltar, Dr Franz (Mayor of Wiesbaden)
EHTTA's Executive Director Simone Zagrodnik, with introductory speakers Klaus-Peter Willsch, Mr Baltar, Dr Franz (Mayor of Wiesbaden)
Mr Dominioni joined by Zoom
Klaus-Peter Willsch at ETHD
Klaus-Peter Willsch, Member of Parliament, Deutscher Bundestag speaking on stage

Thomas Weichel from Wiesbaden's Department for Culture and Heritage gave a guided tour of Wiesbaden for European Thermal Heritage Day, concentrating on the Therapeutic Landscape and urban planning in Wiesbaden.
A Day in Wiesbaden, a brand new film premiered at European Thermal Heritage Day by Wiesbaden Marketing.

Therapeutic Landscapes: "Thermal Urbanism”


Global moderator: Simone Zagrodnik, Executive Director, EHTTA

10.00 h Opening speeches

Dr. Oliver Franz, Mayor of Wiesbaden
José Manuel Baltar Blanco, EHTTA President
Stefano Dominioni, Executive Secretary, European Institute of Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)
Klaus-Peter WillschMember of Parliament, Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin

11.00 h Presentations from a panel of experts

“Thermal Urbanism from Wiesbaden to Saratoga Springs” – Mario Crecente, Vice President, EHTTA Scientific Committee.
“Thermal Urbanism in the Great Spas of Europe” – Paul Simons, Secretary General of the Great Spa Towns of Europe UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Thermal Urbanism in Wiesbaden” – Dr. Thomas Weichel, Office of Identity - Commitment - Citizen Participation of the City of Wiesbaden.

12.30 h Questions and discussion

13.30 h Digital Wiesbaden-Tour “One day in Wiesbaden”

European Thermal Heritage Day 2021 examined the subject of “Thermal Urbanism” in the context of the “Therapeutic Landscape”. This is the idea that thermal towns, with their surrounding landscape were created to enhance physical and mental health of their visitors, involving inhabitants and guests in a sustainable process that we still enjoy today, hundreds of years later. These spaces are particularly valuable as people look for healthy destinations and healing spaces after the pandemic. Wiesbaden in Germany, as the host of European Thermal Heritage Day 2021, is a great example of the concept of “thermal urbanism”..

This is the first of a series of three annual events, looking at the development of the Therapeutic Landscape - in 2022 the subject will be “Parks and Gardens”, and the following year, “Thermal Towns”.

Each spa town relies on its natural setting and the surrounding landscape which has been used and managed as a part of the ‘spa offer’ or attractiveness of the place since the 16th century, in other words the ‘therapeutic’ or spa landscape which is unique to spa towns. This has led to a specific historic urban landscape of transition which moves from the formal gardens in the centre of the spa town, formed around the principal public buildings to the wider ‘English’ style parkland of trees, shrubs and lawns, to the meadows and walks beyond leading into the hills and ‘wild’ landscape setting of the spa town.

The ‘natural’ landscape surrounding the spa towns is often less “natural” than it might appear, as it is a deliberately managed and planted forest to create the concept of ‘wilderness’ with prospects, viewpoints and ‘hidden surprises’ and features. This landscape was purposefully developed with health in mind, the development of which became a collaboration between the spa town authorities, private landowners, and the doctors practising in the town who prescribed walking and riding as part of the ‘cure’.

Background and previous European Thermal Heritage Days

The European Thermal Heritage Day is an annual event established by EHTTA's Scientific Committee in 2018 as a celebration of European thermal heritage and an opportunity to raise awareness of the subject that is at the heart of the Association and its objectives. It is regarded as an example of best practice by the European Institute of Cultural Routes, and won an award in 2019 for the concept.

EHTTA believes that thermal heritage represents a very particular European phenomenon, which includes natural, cultural, and intangible resources. The concept of thermal heritage is used to promote health and wellbeing, to create original tourism destinations, and to protect magnificent cultural landscapes. European Thermal Heritage Day highlights the importance of thermal heritage as a centuries-old Europe-wide tradition, and to gain recognition and awareness of issues that affect the future of this valuable heritage.
In 2018, the first European Thermal Heritage Day was held on the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Hotel Gellert in Budapest, and was a study of “Thermal Tourism and Spa Heritage in Europe”. EHTTA was delighted to welcome the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to this inaugural event, Mr Tibor Navracsics, who is pictured here, third from the right, with (L-R) Mario Crecente, Vice President of the EHTTA Scientific Committee, László Szőke, CEO of Budapest Spas, Gábor Bagdy, First Vice Mayor of Budapest, Manuel Baltar and Bernard Kajdan, Vice Presidents of EHTTA, and Paul Simons President of EHTTA's Scientific Committee. (Positions and titles as in 2018)
In 2019 in Spa, in Belgium, the focus was on the word “Spa” as a 'concept that needs to be redefined' - Spa gave it's name to the world, but now finds that the word has been devalued by numerous "spas" that have nothing to do with the use of healing mineral waters - waters which are at the centre of EHTTA's towns. Find out more about the day from the speakers and audience here
In 2020, European Thermal Heritage Day was hosted by Baden-Baden in Germany, and examined the subject of Thermal Architecture in all its forms. The thermal architecture of our spa towns includes magnificent bathing temples and imposing pump rooms or trinkhalle, as well as residential villas and buildings designed for leisure and entertainment, such as casinos, assembly rooms, theatres, concert halls and art galleries, all set around formal parks and gardens and within a wider "therapeutic landscape". As one of the "Great Spas of Europe", where the urban form of thermal towns has been studied in great depth, and with some magnificent examples of thermal architecture for delegates to visit, Baden-Baden was the perfect virtual location for the 2020 European Thermal Heritage Day. The whole event can be seen here. The 2020 programme and speakers, can be found here.
Download the Scientific Committee Publications from 2018, 2019 and 2020 here.